Black-Crowned Night Herons

Artist Details

Name: Anne Worsham Richardson
Birth: 1919 Death: 2012
Nationality: American

Artwork Details

Date of Work: ca. 1958
Medium: watercolor on paper
Dimensions: 30 x 23 inches
Credit: Museum Purchase

Richardson was a self-taught, with a few private lessons when she came to Charleston in 1938. By 1944, a combination of scientific interests and artistic gifts determined her specialization in bird paintings. With help from the Charleston Museum and the Charleston Natural History Society, she began a study of birds in collections and in the field. Later, she transformed her home into a studio and bird sanctuary, where she studied injured birds while they healed. When the bird has completely recovered, a United States wildlife band was placed on its leg and it was released.

She once said:  “I’ve studied ornithology, of course, but I haven’t had any real training in art…I’ve just painted all my life. The birds aren’t as difficult to paint as you might think. Once you learn one kind of bird thoroughly, all the rest of that species are easier to do. The same is true for placing the bird in the painting in different positions from the ones you sketched. If you know the muscle and bone structure of the bird, you know exactly how it should be.”

Eighteen of her paintings were reproduced on National Wildlife Christmas cards and the 1972 Christmas issue of National Wildlife Magazine featured her Pine Grosbeaks on the front cover, making her the first woman bird painter to have a painting published on the magazine’s cover. She was also the first woman to have a solo art exhibit at the National Wildlife Federation Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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